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30 June 2013

Tiny Friend

Gretchen snapped this picture when we were at the cafe a few days ago. She had been feeing them crumbs to bring them closer to us. Some like to hop right onto the table to snack on muffin bits -- a tiny bird took 1/2 a scone from my plate once.

Have a beautiful Sunday, friends.

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29 June 2013

Alberta Flood Relief: How Dizolve Is Helping

Thousands of people have been forced from heir homes by flooding in Alberta, Canada. Now, until July 31st, Dizolve is lending a hand by donating $12 from every package to the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Floods Fund.

That's the ENTIRE purchase price, less $3 shipping/handling. Amazing!

Click here to buy a box and help out our friends in Alberta.

Canadian readers can enter our Dizolve giveaway right here. Ends July 2nd. 

Image via Canadian Red Cross

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{How To} Brew French Press Coffee

I first learned to brew French press coffee when I was in university. My roommate taught me his tricks of the trade, and I've never forgotten the massive, stainless steel press that we used to use. Lately I've been using our one-cup brewer a lot, but I've been wanting to get back into the tradition of brewing a fresh batch of French press coffee each morning. This post was originally published January 15th, 2012.

Fact: I LOVE my Bodum. Brewing French press coffee makes me all giddy and I love brewing it up for the same reasons I love brewing up a pot of tea. It's all in the ritual. Choosing my favourite bean, trying new blends, grinding in my favourite grinder, pouring, stirring, smelling, sipping.

There are lots of different methods to follow when it comes to using your French press, so today, I'd like to share my a bit about my French pressing habits. Enjoy!

coffee o'clock

First, I like to start with whole beans, as fresh as possible. These particular ones happen to be from Starbucks, but I often like to buy them downtown from the roaster I used to work for.

coffee o'clock

coffee o'clock

coffee o'clock

coffee o'clock

I grind the beans as my water boils on the stove. For a French press, you generally want a coarse grind, but I like mine a wee bit finer. It's all visual for me. This grinder is a bit of a prized possession, actually... it's on its way out though. Nearly broken and try as I might, I can't find an identical replacement, so I treat her with care. (Seriously. If you ever spy a yellow Philips grinder online or at a thrift store, please let me know!) When I'm grinding, I don't actually measure my beans. I just know how full the grinder ought to be for one full Bodum. However, I measured it out today, and for my size press (an 8-cup, 32oz. Bodum) I used about 8-9 tablespoons, or about 2/3 cup beans (before grinding).

Once I have my grinds the way I like them, they go into the French press with a tiny pinch of salt. Around the holidays, I sometimes add nutmeg & cinnamon for a fun kick.

Next, I pour the water in a circular motion to soak all of the grinds, then stop once the carafe is about 1/3 full. Then I grab my trust wooden chopstick and stir til the coffee "blooms". You want to see the colour change a bit, as the ground start to steep and magic starts to happen. Once your coffee "blooms", fill your press to the top, pop the lid (press) on top, then set a timer for four minutes. At the end of four minutes, you're free to get pressing.

coffee o'clock

coffee o'clock

coffee o'clock

My trick? Place your hand on top of the French press plunger and allow the weight of your hand to do the pressing. You don't want to shove it. If it so happens that your grind is too fine, your press may be a bit tougher to get down as the grind block the flow.

To rectify this, simple reverse your press to halt the blockage, then continue pressing. Never PUSH your press down. This can end in a mess of boiling water and coffee all over you. Messy & ouch.

coffee o'clock

coffee o'clock

Once your coffee has been pressed, you're ready to savour & enjoy. Find your favourite cozy mug, pour away & add your accoutrements if so desired. I like a dollop of cream and a bit of organic sugar. Or sometimes Bailey's, if I'm feeling festive.

coffee o'clock

coffee o'clock

coffee o'clock

coffee o'clock

And that's that, mes amis. Time to sit back & enjoy your cuppa. Don't forget to pour the rest of your brew into a thermos or carafe of some description to keep it piping hot til you're ready for mug no. 2 and beyond.


coffee o'clock

What's your favourite way to brew coffee? French press? Chemex? Drip? Share in the comments!

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Beautiful Art For Your Home From Easy Canvas Prints {Review}

Any time I've moved in the past, including our most recent move to the country, I'm always compelled to put artwork up first. My clothing isn't completely put away, and we have lots of other boxes to unpack, but I've added pieces of art to nearly every space, including my new office -- where this gorgeous print now hangs.

Earlier this month, the lovely people from Easy Canvas Prints (who also hosted this generous giveaway) sent me a canvas print of my choice. I'm stunned at how well it turned out!

I mentioned in this post that I had chosen one of my favourite Gretchen photos for the print, and I'm so glad I did. The canvas is a beautiful quality, and the image looks fantastic blown up to 16x20 inches.

I'm glad I chose the option to have my image wrap around the edges of the canvas. I love the look it gives!

I'd definitely recommend Easy Canvas Prints if you're looking for a fun new way to display your favourite images -- something that goes beyond traditional framing. You can order prints anywhere from 8x8 to 40x40 inches, with a number of different options for customization. Visit Easy Canvas Prints to get started and check out their deals on now.

Time to decide on my next print choice... there are so many I'm dying to send off. Peace!

View the So Fawned sponsor guidelines and full disclosure here

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28 June 2013

One Of Those Days

Wednesday was just one of those days.

The day before, I headed to the hospital to support one of my doula clients who was in labour. By Wednesday afternoon, I had been at the hospital nearly 20 hours -- the point where, if timing allows, I will take a break to catch an hour or two of sleep, a shower, a bite to eat. As I was able to take a moment from the hospital, I drove to my partner's work to grab lunch with him.

That's when he noticed the bulge in my car's front right side tire. A bulge creating a super thin bit of tire, which I'm still surprised didn't burst before I got to his office.

Since having my tire explode on the highway home isn't exactly something I care for, we made a trip to Canadian Tire, where thankfully they were able to change my front tires for two lovely new ones.

Fine and dandy. Not what I wanted to spend my hospital break doing, but that's life.

My partner and I did manage a bite to eat and a coffee, before I headed home to shower, picked up Gretchen from daycare and brought her to her father's, then made my way back to the hospital to rejoin my clients.

After finishing up at the hospital, I was riding on just a few hours sleep from the evening before, frustrated with the fact that births don't always play out the way we'd like, and craving some time to decompress.

I got to my car, took a deep breath, and blew it all out, nice and slow, just as I have my clients due during contractions. Deep. Cleansing. Breaths.

Then I turned my key in the ignition.

And the gas light came on.


Off to the gas station I went. Then to pick up groceries before finally making my way home.

Over the last week I've been keeping a close eye on my Neon's odometer because I was coming up on a milestone: 123,456kms. I really wanted to get a picture when it happened.

I parked in the lot at the Superstore, and suddenly remember to look down at my dash.

Yup. Just one of those days.

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Fawned Friday: A Bunny, Yummy Camping Food, And A Brand New Baby

01. A bunny wearing a hat.

02. I'd recommend a visit to Alexandra Franzen's site daily.

03. Top 10 most read books in the world.

04. Must keep this in mind for our camping trip next month.

05. A cute translation of British meanings.

06. Creative play, from a creative mama.

07. Someone's sweet little one has arrived early!

08. This is always how I feel when I look at prescriptions.

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26 June 2013

{Wordless Wednesday} Country Love

24 June 2013

Win A One Year Supply Of Dizolve Ultra Laundry Detergent Strips {Giveaway}

A little while ago, the folks at Dizolve sent me a box of their laundry detergent strips to try out. My first thoughts upon opening the box was, "There's no way that tiny thing can clean a whole load of laundry." However, after a month or so of using the product religiously, I'm a convert.

Though my mister is an expert laundry doer -- he measures and sorts and loads the machine perfectly -- I've always been more of a dumper, shover, and douser. Laundry in, soap in, water in, GO. But in that haze of rushed laundry doing, I know I'v been using more soap than needed. Aka, I've been wasting soap, and wasting money.

Enter, Dizolve strips. They come all attached together, so you've just got to rip one off, pop it into the bottom of your machine, add your clothes and off you go! REALLY dirty load? Use 2. Not so dirty load? Use 1/2. Easy, simple, and BOY do they work.

Perfect for use in hot or cold water, you can't measure wrong, and they work in standard or HE machines. These babies are made in Canada and have a whole host of other fabulous qualities too:
  • Zero plastic
  • 94% less transportation pollution
  • Biodegradable
  • 1,4-Dioxane free
  • Phosphate-free
  • Safe for septics
  • Hypoallergenic, gentle on skin
  • Free of colour dye

From their website:

We’re on a mission to make your laundry washing chore easier, healthier, more economical, and much kinder to our planet.

A few years ago, we observed many things drastically wrong with traditional detergent products:
  • They’re heavy to lug around and bulky to store,
  • Shipping them around generates tons of pollution,
  • They add a mountain of plastic to our landfills, and
  • Over-sized, hard to read measuring caps cost consumers over $1 billion a year in over-dosing waste.

A light bulb went off, and we set out to invent a smarter way to clean laundry.

Because their 72-load packages can be mailed in a small envelop, this is the first time ever that detergeant has been shipped in a cost-effective manner. Amazing stuff.

Click here for a neat infographic about the eco-impact of laundry detergent in Canada.

Dizolve has generously offered a year's supply of Dizolve Ultra Laundry Detergent Strips to one of our Canadian readers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends Tuesday, July 2nd at 12am EST! Open to Canadian residents only. A winner will be announced via Twitter/Facebook, and an update on this post.

You can read more about this fantastic Canadian company here, and if you're interested in their fundraising campaigns, take a peek here! A unique company with stellar vision. Love it.

Update: Congrats to our winner, Gillian! Watch your inbox!

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My Kia, My Summer: Tailgating Traditions

My mister and I have a Saturday morning tradition, which started last summer, involving a visit to the local farmer's market for coffee and incredibly spicy sausages.

It all started after our favourite farmer's market fare began to be less and less tasty, and we discovered a new delicious breakfast food -- locally made sausages from a quirky vendor. So yummy, and maybe you wouldn't think that's a great idea for breakfast, especially when paired with coffee, but we LOVE it, and now it's become a Saturday morning tradition for the entire season.

Our tradition also involves us tailgating in the back of our Kia Soul.

Sometimes we bring a picnic blanket, but most weekends we sit together in the back hatch, munching away and chatting about our plans for the rest of the weekend. Sometimes my daughter is with us, and she climbs right into the back and sits cross-legged with her snack.

Last summer we even folded all the seats down and watched iPad movies outside at night. It was like a little mini campout in the driveway!

When my partner first bought the Soul I pretty much fell in love with it. It's such a different looking car, and if I were in the market for a new car myself, I really think I'd get one too. (Are matching cars too much??)

The Soul is adorable, roomy, and fun.

We've taken a lot of summertime road trips in this car, and have never once felt like we didn't have enough room for everything we needed. We also moved earlier this week and, excluding big furniture, we could fit everything into the back with the seats folded down.

I'm definitely looking forward to next weekend, for more morning tailgating... and later this month, another camping trip! We put our Kia to the test, and she's never let us down. (Time to inform my partner I just called his car a girl. But I don't think he'll mind.)

Hope you're enjoying your summer, friends! Time for one more GPO me eating a sausage. Peace!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Kids & Caterpillars

My daughter has officially reached the bringing-bugs-home phase of childhood. About a week ago, she came home from her gramma’s house, proudly carrying a jar filled with caterpillars, leaves, grass, and sticks. She was SO excited to show me her new pets.

Continue reading at Mom Spark...

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21 June 2013

Fawned Friday: 3D Printing, Bathing Suits, And Trees

01. 3D printed cookie cutters.

02. Seriously sweet bathing suits for littles.

03. The good life.

04. Working hard for something special.

05. Take care of yourself.

06. So neat!

07. Can't stop watching this.

08. I love when she talks about trees like this.

09. If brands were completely honest.

10. Vintage tech ads.

Wishing you all a fantastic weekend! After a week of moving, and unpacking, and about 30 trips between our old condo and the new farm... we're zonked! Time for a relaxing weekend and some R&R.

What have you got planned for the next few days?

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20 June 2013

On Clumsiness & Silly Injuries

I get hurt a lot.

I'm clumsy, and though I don't feel like I'm especially uncoordinated, I tend to injure myself in the strangest ways. ALL THE TIME.

Take moving day for example...

Injury no. 1: While carrying a big box into the house, I smashed my left hand into the banister, resulting in a full hand bruise, as shown below. I'm just glad I didn't actually break a finger or my hand, but the bruising is pretty nasty. It hurts to make a fist or wiggle my fingers.

Injury no. 2: Gauged my leg on the corner of a box, just a bit of skin taken off, not too much blood.

Injury no. 3: While trying to move an electrical cord out of the way, I crawled along the floor and reached to push the cord into the corner, hitting eye on the corner of the bedside table. Now it's a bit swollen and red, but doesn't look as bad as it feels.

I also stubbed my toe in the car (go figure) and broke a toenail, got a splinter loading shelves, and pinched my arm trying to push two bookshelves together.

Seriously. This is my life all the time. I have NO idea how I've never broken a major bone or been seriously injured the point of needing a hospital visit. I've had my share of broken toes/fingers, but nothing that actually necessitated a cast or stitches.

My partner is so used to my constant injuries. He just gives me a sympathetic look, smiles... and gets a bag of ice or a band-aid.

I also break a lot of stuff -- dropping it, somehow knocking items off shelves, tripping over whatnots. The phrase this is why we can't have nice things is uttered A LOT within our walls.

Anyone else walk through life, accident after injury after bruise? I barely even bat an eye when it happens now... I'm not even surprised. Ever have that feeling?

Update, 5:02pm: I just ran around outside with the dog, stepped on a rock, and now my foot is gushing blood. See. Told you.


17 June 2013

I Have Four Things To Tell You

Sometimes life gets exciting and busy and wonderful and I forget to share kind of big stuff on the blog. So today, I'm sharing four pieces of news that I've probably tweeted about, but haven't sat down at the keyboard long enough to really explain.

So here it goes!

01. I'm going to BlogHer'13.
Ok, so this you know because of the wee badge I've got up in the right hand corner... and it was sort of mentioned in this post, but really, I haven't dedicated a moment to it as I should have. I'll be attending BlogHer'13 in Chicago, and will be in the city July 25th-28th. The first and only blogging conference I've attended so far, was BlogHer'11 in San Diego -- and I had such an amazing experience. 

Honestly, meeting bloggy friends is one of my favourite things in the world. There's nothing like connecting with people after following their lives, and chatting online, and getting to really know one another before you ever meet. For example, I've contributed to the blog Child Mode in the past, and wrote with its founder, Nadia, over on another blog, and finally this weekend we had a chance to meet in person! She happened to be near Peterborough, check out Viamede Resort, so we met up and I got to meet her three gorgeous children too. Such a great visit!

Nadia and I are working on some blog ideas for later in the summer... can't wait to share!

Also, if you're going to be in Chicago next month, give me a shout! I'm hoping to meet even more of you lovelies!

02. I got glasses.
After months of thinking to myself, "Driving at night shouldn't be this hard", I went to get my eyes checked and walked away with a prescription to help deal with my deteriorating ability to see things that are far away. And WOW what a difference they make. It's a tiny prescription, but for driving and distance, I'm a much happier girl with my glasses on. I'm still a bit stunned at how much I can see with them on! Hello leaves on trees and far away billboards! The world is crisp and clear!

03. I started writing for The Inquisitr.
If you've been reading So Fawned for a while, you might know that I used to write full time for Celebrity Baby Scoop, and that I currently contribute to Mom Spark, a mama blog founded by the lovely Amy.

After making the decision to close my shop, I knew I'd be back writing and sure enough, was able to land myself a gig with The Inquisitr. Currently an intern and loving it!

04. We're moving to the country. 
Here's the big one. Earlier this year my mister and I moved in together, and this week, we'll be putting the condo on the market, and moving to the country, to a farmhouse owned by family. You've probably seen my Instagram feed filling up with images of fields and barns, orchards, and the most beautiful old home. I'm thrilled for the chance to have Gretchen experience what it's like to live in the country, with endless fields to play in, fresh air, and lazy summers days. 

We can't wait to enjoy the peace and quiet of rural life -- something we both grew up loving. It's also just about 20 minutes out of town. A summer of bonfires and sipping tea on our wraparound porch is about to begin. That barn above? That'll be my view from my new office. Incredible. 

So there we have it. Four bits of news -- four things that are making me very, very happy. 

My next post will come to you from the farmhouse. Peace!

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